n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - N.P. van Wyk Louw as kanoniseerder (Deel 2)

Volume 41, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


A canon is a collection of texts that are regarded by a specific society at a specific moment in time as valuable and worth preserving. These texts (often seen as the collective memory of that society) also function as points of reference for literary utterances, judgements and the study of literature. Because the whole process of canonization is also a power game and seen as the entrenchment of values of the ruling classes, it is also referred to as a "sinister craeture of consumer capitalism" (Culler 1989). In this article (the second part of a two part study), a typology of processes of canonization are proposed against the backdrop of literary systems theory. Within a given literary system there is no harmony between the participants like publishers, magazines and writers groups, but a contest for supremacy, or "capital" in the terminology of Bourdieu. In this regard especially "rewriters" (translators, compilers of anthologies, critics and literary historians) are important role players. These rewriters are mediators between earlier texts and contemporary reception. It is mainly the creative person who is the ideal rewriter, when s/he is not only a writer but also a rewriter. In this study the role of one such rewriter, the prolific Afrikaans poet, writer and canonizer, N.P. van Wyk Louw, is investigated in terms of the proposed typology.

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